July 27, 2018

Bernie's Back In Business!

Many thanks to Brad and Shelly (of Shepparton Sewing Centre - the dealer I bought my Bernina longarm from). I contacted Shelly right away and she was just an angel, arranging for Brad to come here this past week and fix up "Bernie" for me.

As it turned out, the problem was caused by my not pulling through the bottom thread before stitching.  Now, I've done that many times when just playing around and experimenting, never had a problem.  Brad assured me it's rare, but sometimes the bottom thread can get jammed up in the bobbin mechanism and cause a timing issue.  And that's what happened to me.

Well - you can bet I'll never make THAT mistake again.

It turned out for the best, because Bernie was due for periodic maintenance anyway, so Brad went ahead and did that while he was here (it only took 10 minutes to clear the thread jam).

So the thread jam is cleared, I've learned an important (if somewhat expensive) lesson, and Bernie got herself a lube job.

All good!

July 25, 2018

Quilt 108: "Flight of Fancy" - DONE!

This one is a kit quilt from Patchwork With Gail B.  I bought it in April, at t he Australasian Quilt Convention.  It's a little larger than some of the other projects I've been doing lately.  Hubby Stephen is holding it for me, and the corner on the upper right is flopping back in this photo because it's so wide.  (doubleclick the photo below to see a larger image)
72" x 69" - quilted on the longarm (free motion nested C's) - cotton batting
It's made up of two panels (the dragonfly/butterfly print) and rectangular blocks made up of coordinating prints.  Here's a closeup:

I love the rich teals and turquoises - and the fabric has little flecks of metallic gold as well.  I used a soft dove grey thread for the quilting, and am very pleased at how well the stitches fade into the prints.

Here's a closeup of the back:

I'm getting quite comfortable with the "nested C's" freemotion quilting pattern.  It's easy to do and is the fastest stitch pattern I've used so far.

July 20, 2018

Oh, No! Bernie's Busted!

(I also thought about titling this post "The Ecstasy and the Agony")

I'm very excited to say that I decided to take the "plunge" and get the Q-Matic computerization accessories for "Bernie" (my longarm).  The dealer delivered it yesterday, hooked it up, and spent about 3 hours with me teaching me the basics.

The user interface is more than a little daunting, and not terribly intuitive.  But I was doing pretty well.  I'd planned to stitch a few practice bits and then blog about it, showing examples of what it can do... but... something went terribly wrong.

I was doing end-to-end patterns and had just advanced the practice quilt to get the next row.  Just as I started up, there was a horrible grinding sound and the machine just froze!

The screen on the head of the longarm showed this message:

I pulled off the switchplate to find that the bobbin mechanism is frozen.  There's a small metal tab, which is blocking it from rotating (photo below with an orange arrow drawn in to point to the metal tab).

I rang the dealer, and she's sending a repairman next week. 

Disappointing, but it'll be OK.  I'll just get busy and whip up some more quilt tops while I'm waiting.

July 11, 2018

Quilt 107: Orange Mocha (Sonnet Collection) - DONE!

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a charm square project I started, but ran into trouble when I found that some of the squares in the back had been incorrectly cut (click here to see that post).  All the squares in the pack were fabrics with plaids or stripes - and several were cut at an angle.

After considering the possibilities, I decided to go ahead and make the quilt - and use the crooked-cut squares as-is.  The results turned out fine:
45" x 62" - quilted on the longarm ("Shells" groovy boards) - cotton batting
Yes, you will still see the crooked squares if you look closely, but they don't really scream.  And, after quilting (I used my new "Shells" groovy boards), it looks lovely, even with the imperfections.
(doubleclick the pictures on this page to see a larger image)
The shop where I bought the squares had a great deal on yardage from the same Moda range, so I opted to back it with one of those prints:
(I really wish my camera caught colours better - the backing is just gorgeous!)
I love the "Shells" groovy board pattern.  It took a couple of practice rows before I got a good feel for how the board should be approached.  My stylus wiggles a little in the grooves, and if I'm not careful, I get wiggles in the stitching.  But I worked out how to do it and the results are great.

And, because the "Shells" grooves aren't as dense/close together, it took very little time to complete the quilt.  For this one, just under 3 hours (and that was with thread that kept breaking on me).  Pretty good!

July 4, 2018

Crooked Charm Squares

The fabric shop was having a sale and they had some charm square packs marked down REALLY low.  I snapped some up in a hurry.  Should'a looked the pack over carefully, however.

Last week's post was about a quilt top I made with one of those sets.  Some of the squares were cut wrong in that pack.  I went ahead and used them anyway and yeah, the quilt looks fine, really.

But I decided to do the other "plaid" charm square packs I bought and oh, no.  Way too many of them are like this:

Ouch.  I got away with crooked squares in the Orange Mocha quilt - but this one?  No.  Too many squares out of alignment and off way too far.

What to do?

  • cut the squares down and get them all evened up? (nope - too much work and I'm not THAT wild about the plaids)
  • use them as they are? (nope - there's just way too many of them and unlike the previous set, these squares are going to SCREAM "crooked!")
  • use just the ones that are OK? (nope - there won't be enough to make anything I'd want to make)
  • throw them away? (Oh, I hate waste...)
The daughter of a friend has been playing with fabric bits - SHE might enjoy playing with these squares - so I'll give them to her.

And from here out, you can bet I'll be looking more closely at charm square packs before I buy them!